The Digital MRS


A new website.Andries Zijlstra

Welcome to our new website!

As you browse around, you'll find much more than an updated website. The new site is an advanced content management system built with the intent to create a dynamic environment where we share the information you are interested in and at the same time, make it possible for everyone to contribute. We live in a constant (overwhelming) stream of data where individual pieces of information range from critical to useless. The goal of the website is to connect people interested in metastasis research and provide an organized means to disseminate useful and reliable information. 

The site was redesigned after carefull evaluation by a committee of MRS members. The new design was subsquently implemented under the guidance of Dr. Andries Zijlstra (Vanderbilt University) and Dr. Conor Lynch (Moffitt Cancer Center). Take a look and let us know what you think!


The Homepage

Scientists are data-driven. So is our homepage. The pie chart is a visual representation of the NCI 2012 cancer stats. Click on your cancer of interest and you'll see three separate charts pop-up: 1) The patient distribution at time of diagnosis, 2) Their 5-year survival and 3) the distribution of metastases for that specific disease. 

Sources: a) Cancer Statistics (2013), b) Patterns of metastases in adenocarcinomas of man (1975) and c) Metastatic patterns of cancers: results from a large autopsy study (2008) [pubmed citations]


The fixed pages: 

Our fixed pages contain the "must-have" information related to the MRS, including information regarding our membership, when and where our international congress is organized, what journals the MRS is affiliated with and who our president & board members are. 


The dynamic pages:

The real fun starts when people with common interests come together and create useful and dynamic content, and that is exactly what we did. Using new technology to script movies, images, audio, e-books, and html, we have created dynamic pages that provide useful data aggregated from all sources (old and new) to provide insightful, interesting and useful information related to metastasis and metastasis research.

Understanding Metastasis:  Three pages provide information tailored to the general public and scientists interested in metastasis research. 1) "Understanding Metastasis - for Patients" provides a general description, links to animations and outside sources, connections to patient advocate organizations, and input from metastasis survivors. 2) "Understanding Metastasis - Landmark Discoveries" uses a timeline to highlight significant discoveries that defined our understanding of the biology and mechanisms of metastasis using every possible source aggregated from around the web (ever heard of "metastasis of milk". 3) "Understanding Metastasis - for Scientists" uses the metastatic cascade to provides our current understanding of metastasis. 

Meet the Expert: This is a collection of interviews where experts in the field (such as Dr. Josh Fidler)  share their insight in metastasis research. These interviews provide surprising insight, insightful perspectives and historical anecdotes that you will not find in any published article. Not convinced? Listen to Dr. Filder talk about popular concepts in metastasis research or Dr. Brekken on what it means to start your own lab.

Nuts & Bolts: We all know that many of our experiments rely on highly technical and sophisticated approaches. Nuts & Bolts allows investigators to share specifics on a metastasis-related technique that will enable their peers to implement that knowledge in their own labs. For instance, board member Conor Lynch shares how to perform specific bone metastases assays and provides citations, protocols and video resources to facilitate your understanding.

Resources: Have you ever spent an entire day finding the right resource? For instance, where can you find public microarray data? Where are the resources related to microRNA? "Resources" is a vetted listed of exactly that: Resources on the internet that help you do your work. If you have a collection of resources that you have vetted, share it with us! Save your peers the headache and the risk.  

News: This is not your ordinary news page. This page aggregates news from across the website and provides a condensed view of everything new you might be interested in.



This site is build as a dynamic template where information can be added, modified, linked, edited very rapidly by teams of people working together around the word. It is a simple fact that none of us can be experts at everything. So, just like our research, this website will grow with input from everyone around us including you! We encourage everyone to contact us with new content, links, or edits that will improve the site and the content within it.


Annotate and Reference:

In the tradition of scientific writing, readers will see that information is cited or linked whenever possible. Moreover, the site displays editor and authorship affiliation to give credit where it is due.


Geek Speak:

For those of you interested in web-based data distribution. The site is constructed using Drupal (a content management system) using a collection of standard and custom modules to display information. Most notable is the java script used to display graphs (the home page) and the implementation of "light-box" plugins to display external and internal content (images, html, video). The site is integrated with YouTube, Google books and Google drive to display off-site content. 

Enjoy! We hope to hear from you and see your contributions in our mailbox.


AZ initials

Andries Zijlstra

Assistant Professor
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dept. of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Nashville TN, USA